Kiran Kumar Reddy after his swearing-in. (PTI)
Hyderabad, Nov. 25: Two cats — one black and the other white — spoilt N. Kiran Kumar Reddys coronation today, with the family of the new chief minister even asking for his swearing-in to be delayed but hitting the protocol wall.
Reddy, who got the top job by default because first choice Jaipal Reddy would not have it, said in his first news conference that law and order would be his priority but did not forget to add that he would strive to support the prime ministership of Rahul Gandhi in 2014.
YSR had announced that wish in the corridors of the Assembly a few days before his sudden demise and I will strive to achieve that, said Reddy, who was a close associate of the late chief minister.
But that is for later. Right now, the chief minister has other problems — cats that crossed his path and soothsayers who claim that 12.14pm, when he took oath today, was an inauspicious muhurtam.
Srinivas Gargeya, palmist and numerologist, said going by Reddys date of birth, the right time for him to have taken oath was between 11.35am and 12.05pm.
A source in the chief ministers office said he was already upset that a white cat had crossed the road as he left home for Raj Bhavan and that a black cat crossed his path just as he was about to enter Raj Bhavan for the swearing-in when astrologers came on news channels to announce that the 16th chief minister took office at the wrong hour.
Now, Reddy has put off his entry into the secretariat till Vastu corrections are made in his chambers and some rituals are performed at home. His mother Sarojamma, wife of former minister N. Amarnath Reddy, is presiding over these.
The chief minister has also put off his visit to Delhi, earlier planned for this evening.
He surprised everyone by holding his first news conference on the Assembly premises rather than in the secretariat or his home. In the evening, he held a review meeting with officials on welfare and health departments at a guest house.
But Reddy is not the first chief minister to be so publicly superstitious. M. Channa Reddy, also a Congress chief minister, performed rituals at home for weeks before entering his chambers in the secretariat. Telugu Desam chief minister N.T. Rama Rao ordered the construction of a new compound wall and gate in the secretariat to meet Vastu requirements.
YSR and Chandrababu Naidu also delayed entering their offices till alterations were made.
Kiran Kumar Reddy, a 50-year-old former Ranji player with no administrative experience, was chosen for the top job after Union urban development minister Jaipal Reddy refused to be persuaded to take it up, sources said.
The Speaker and four-time MLA is known to be short tempered and lacks a popular support base. The only plus was that Reddy had functioned as YSRs hatchet man in the Assembly and would regularly take on Opposition leader N. Chandrababu Naidu. He had got an inquiry instituted into an alleged agricultural scam in Naidus Kuppam constituency in Chittoor.
Asked what he would do with the report, now gathering dust in the secretariat, Reddy said: We will see.
At his first news conference, Reddy said: I wish to resolve the ongoing 12-13 agitations in the state through negotiations but want to send out the message that no one will be allowed to take law into their hands.
The chief minister said his main political agenda was to fulfill the last desire of YSR to see that 41 Congress MPs were elected in the 2014 general elections — the party contests 41 of the 42 seats, leaving one to its ally MIM — and support the prime ministership of Rahul Gandhi.
He said all poll promises made in the 2009 party manifesto would be delivered. Rs 2/kg rice, tuition fee reimbursements, MNREGS, Rajiv Argoyasee, Jalayagnam and Pavala Vaddi will be continued and effectively executed, he said.
AICC leader Veerappa Moily has announced that a Telangana MLA will be made deputy chief minister to balance the share of power till 2014 or till the Telangana issue is resolved.